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S Korea to join three U.S. aircraft carriers in drills

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Three US supercarriers to conduct joint drills in waters off Korean peninsula

According to reports, the exercise will involve seven South Korean and 11 US ships, as well as the USS Ronald Reagan, Theodore Roosevelt, and Nimitz.

The three flattops are the USS Ronald Reagan, Nimitz and Theodore Roosevelt.

"Although Beijing failed to prevent South Korea's deployment of THAAD altogether via unilateral sanctions and political pressure, the new agreement got Seoul to publicly state it would abide by three "no's": 1) no additional THAAD deployments in South Korea; 2) no participation in a US-led strategic missile defense system; and 3) no creation of a ROK-US-Japan trilateral military alliance", the article said.

South Korea and the United States have repeatedly said THAAD only serves to defend against the growing missile threat from North Korea.

"The training is aimed at restraining North Korea's nuclear and missile provocations and showing our military's strong willingness to act and military preparedness", the JCS said, quoted in the local press.

The US warships will carry out air defence drills, sea surveillance, defensive air combat training and other training operations, the US Navy said.

The exercise is taking place while U.S. President Donald Trump is on an Asian tour and presenting a united front with regional leaders.

The presence of the three aircraft carriers in waters around the Korean Peninsula and the South China Sea, the East China Sea and the Philippine Sea, unnerved North Korea, who said the presence of US strategic assets was the reason for the country needing a nuclear deterrent.

APEC brings together 21 economies from the Pacific region.

Chinese President Xi Jinping met here Saturday with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and the two compared notes on bilateral ties and the Korean Peninsula situation.

"The future of this region and its lovely people must not be held hostage to a dictator's twisted fantasies of violent conquest and nuclear blackmail", he said during a speech in Vietnam at the annual Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

Xi noted his meeting with the South Korean leader marked a turnaround in South Korea-China relations.

President Trump is now on a tour of Asia that has taken him to Japan, South Korea and China so far.

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